How Can I Improve My Self EsteemFebruary 22, 2021
Leaving behind the safety net of childhood can be a stressful time for all young adults, and the unknowns for what the future will hold can have debilitating effects on self-esteem. Low self-esteem can impact nearly all aspects of your life including your relationships, your career, and your health, but there are many strategies you can employ to harness the power of your mind and change how you feel about yourself.
How young adults can improve their confidence and self-esteem
One evidence-based approach to improving self-esteem is through the teachings of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. This type of therapy is often used in mental health counseling to help patients become aware of their thoughts and how to respond to them.
The first step in CBT is identifying troubling conditions, thoughts, and situations you may experience in regards to your self-esteem. Try to brainstorm a list of situations that seem to trigger your low-self esteem such as school or work projects, home life, peer and romantic relationships, or major life changes.
Once you’ve identified these challenging situations, start to pay attention to your thoughts surrounding these ideas. This self-talk includes what you tell yourself as well as your interpretation of what various situations mean. Notice if these feelings are positive, negative, or neutral and if they are based on facts and reason or if they seem irrational. Finally, ask yourself if these thoughts are true, or if they are just something your brain is telling you.
Identifying and labeling thoughts can take some time and practice, but once you have started to discover some of your thought patterns, you can start challenging negative or inaccurate thinking. It can be hard to identify long-held inaccuracies, but it can help if you pay attention to some common thought patterns that erode self-esteem. Here are some examples of negative thought patterns to look out for:
1.) All or nothing thinking – This is when you think that things are either all good or all bad. For example, if you make one mistake when working on a project, you think of yourself and the entire project as a failure.
2.) Converting positives into negatives: This thought pattern rejects positive achievements and experiences by telling yourself that they don’t count. For example, if you get a good grade on a test and you tell yourself you only did well because it was an easy test.
3.) Mistaking feeling for facts: This is when you confuse a feeling you have about yourself for a fact. For example, you could be feeling like a failure and mistake this feeling for proof that you actually are a failure.
After you’ve started to identify some of the negative thought patterns you experience, it’s time to adjust your thoughts and beliefs by positively reframing them. One way you can do this is through hopeful statements, instead of assuming the worst about an outcome of a project, tell yourself that even though it is hard, you can handle the work because you are a capable individual. Remove the words “should” and “must” from your thought statements to help reduce the unrealistic pressures you put on situation outcomes. Finally, learn to encourage yourself by giving yourself credit for making positive changes.
Trails Momentum can help
Trails Momentum is an adventure-based wilderness therapy program that offers 18-25-year-olds a pathway to successfully transition into adulthood. We provide the people, place, and experiences that allow young adults to gain insight, practice healthy independence, realign goals, and learn new tools needed for adulthood.
Many of the young adults we work with have struggled with self-doubt and fear of leaving their comfort zone. Through an integrative therapeutic approach, our students face new challenges, build self-esteem and confidence, and create momentum that carries them toward their passions. For more information, please call (828) 457-8576.